Marcelo Bielsa has given a detailed hypothesis of why Leeds have made such dramatic improvements defensively this season, before summing it all up in one word.
The Whites currently boast the best defensive record in all of England, having been breached just eight goals in 15 matches played this season.
Given supporters’ fears at the sale of Pontus Jansson over the summer and that captain Liam Cooper has also missed a period of games, that is some milestone for a club who has serious hopes of going one better than last season’s near-promotion miss.
Much credit goes to the improvement in Kiko Casilla’s game, with Bielsa giving little away when questioned about the Spaniard’s impending FA charge, while summer signing Ben White has also been a revelation with his form seeing him linked with Liverpool as a result.
Although not praising individuals – Bielsa has always been about the team attacking and defending as a unit – the Leeds boss did have some words of wisdom about their improvements.
“The mistake that allows the opponent to score, those mistakes have an affect that helps the player to improve,” Bielsa said. “You can say to one player ‘don’t do this mistake’ and this resource is less effective, then when you have a situation where one player makes a mistake and learns because this mistake has a consequence. The price you pay when you make a mistake, so this has a big value to develop our players.
“I always hope and wish if I prevent one player to do a mistake without doing it, they will not do it. But after when I see that one player makes a mistake and how the player changes his behaviour after this mistake, I realise the difference that when you make a mistake it’s more important in the leaning process than the manager making a mistake.
“Following this we make less mistakes than last season because we have learned from it.”
Bielsa, smiling, then added: “I could have answered this question with one word – ‘experience’!”